tv Meet the Press MSNBC January 19, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PST
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the state, it is not enough for leaders to say trust us, we won't abuse the data we collect. for history has too many examples when that trust has been breached. >> good sunday morning. no matter what you think of edward snowden and the decision to spill secrets of how the government conducts domestic surveillance, he started one big debate. without him, it is hard to imagine the president giving the speech he gave this week. the spying programs are here to stay it appears. but the president says he would
briefings in the white house as said, you, you know, the world is really dangerous and we need these tools to be safe. it's very hard to imagine fundamental changes in the program against president obama's wishes. >> yeah, i mean, that's a question. reformers are they going to say no, we're going to challenge these programs and stop this bulk collection of data? >> the reformers are already saying they want to stop the bulk collection. the biggest change he made was the government would no longer store the elected metadata, all the phone records but hasn't said how that's going to happen. the phone companies are not equipped to do the kind of instant searches. they don't have that kind of data mining. he's putting it on congress and the other thing that nobody's really talking about here is that in june 2015, this whole thing goes away unless congress reauthorizes it. it was sunsetted. >> all the more reason for congress to step up and have a real debate. look, the cat's out of the bag
on a lot of stuff. go down there and say what you're for. >> that's right. they're calling for him to do that. it sounds like a big about speech, small changes more to come with a congress that is so far hasn't been very productive with much of anything. there is a movement i think in the house for ending this entire program, right? it got a lot of votes actually in the house side. but a lot of division in terms of where to go on this. you had the leaders of the top two committees, feinstein and rogers, come out and say basically rubber stamp what the president said, but it definitely feels like the devil is in the details. >> i was in congress when 9/11 happened. there was a lot of angst. we need to remind ourselves or be reminded people were worried we were not connecting dots. people were worried that there was intelligence and evidence not being shared amongst various agencies, that the government was not lies nick to the people it should have been listening to. so we need to put all of this in context. i hope when congress has this
debate, someone will make it clear we have killed more terrorists using drones. people may mot like drones but it's a substitute for american soldiers being on the ground. two, learning more and more about terrorist plots. i live in new york city. i'm thankful we have programs that do this. there's no doubt we wouldn't have this discussion without snowden. i'm not a snowden fan. he should come back home and face the music here like -- because i believe what he did was break the law. but at the same time, if we can answer the one question that andrea laid out, where do you store the data or who should store it. >> talking to privacy advocates, critics of these programs, they say the reason this is so significant is if you continue to allow the government to collect all this data and basically create a single database, there is the potential for abuse. you know? this country's been through watergate, been through hoover at the fbi. we know the kinds of excesses that can happen. you don't want that potential there. >> first of all, if you look at the irs scandal, we had plenty of opportunity for abuse with paper. i mean, the power of the
government is enormous. that's why as a conservative i like smaller government. but the question is, if you draw a sharp line and say for the purpose of defending america, you can learn these things, none of them can migrate over to the criminal justice system and you should make it a felony. this is why snowden has to be tried. it should be a felony for any of this stuff coming over to the justice department. >> meaning, if they used information for purposes of going after, i agree 100%, 100%. >> we'll continue this. you all will be back and i'm going to talk to the intelligence chairs you mentioned feinstein and rogers in just a few minutes as well as getting some reaction from the digital world, as well. but i want to turn to another big story in politics this morning and get to the latest on the new allegations of bullying by the administration of new jersey governor chris christie. a new development over the weekend, hoboken, new jersey, mayor dawn zimmer claimed christie's lieutenant governor threatened to told hurricane sandy relief funds if they did not support a development project backed by governor christie.
this is part of what she said on a the msnbc program "up" with steve kornacki. >> the fact is the lieutenant government came to hoboken, she pulled me an aside in the parking lot and said i know it's not right, if you tell anyone, i'll deny it. and so these -- the bottom line is, it's not fair for the governor to hold sandy funds hostage for the city of hoboken because he wants me to give back to one private developer. >> joining me now the man leading the investigation into the bridge scandal, democractic assembly wisniewski. former new york city rudy giuliani.
let me start with assemblyman wisniewski. how much weight do you give this charge at this point? >> mayor zimmer is a serious voice, a well respected mayor of new jersey. i think we have to give the allegation serious thought because it is a an pattern that we've heard time and time again throughout new jersey. she is perhaps one of the first mayors to actually come forward and say this specific thing happened. i think the committee needs to look at the facts, hear her story, look at the e-mails and consider where we go next. >> here's the response from governor christie that i want to put up on the screen. governor christie and his entire administration have been helping hoboken get the help they need after sandy but the city already having been approved for nearly $70 million in federal aid and targeted to get more when the obama administration approves the next round of funding. the governor and mayor zimmer have had a productive relationship in fact her saying she's very glad he's been the governor. it is clear partisan politics are at play here where politicians with a political ax to grind come out of the woodwork to try to get their
faces on television. you just described it as a pattern you're hearing more and more of. the only pattern that's been in evidence with the governor re-elected is how much support he's had from elected democrats in your state. >> the mayor zimmer was one of those elected democrats early on and said that have governor christie -- >> they held back till he looked weakened by this other issue? >> i'm not sure what caused mayor zimmer to wait till now. clearly the allegation she was asked to support a redevelopment project where there was funding from the port authority which we're investigating in turn for her getting money for her municipality raises serious allegations. we don't know where it goes. we don't know if there's more to it. but i think it's something the committee has to consider as part of the overall investigation. >> so here's one of the criticisms of you thus far. >> sure. >> is that there's a rush to judgment here. you're a democrat. you used to run the state party. >> that's true. >> you've got the national democratic party piggy backing on allegations and ones a suspect aspects of this investigation. you've issued very broad subpoenas and you've said it's hard for you to believe that governor christie didn't know his top staff was ordering those lanes to be closed on the george washington bridge.
isn't this kind of stacked against him here? >> no, it's not. first of all, this investigation started out because of a toll increase on the george washington bridge and other port authority crossings. we're looking at the finances and operations of the port authority. somebody closed lanes from ft. lee during that. we started asking questions about the lane closures and suddenly we're looking at e-mails where somebody in the governor's inner circle sent an e-mail to close those lanes for clearly what are not governmental purposes. this story, interestingly enough, didn't start with the democrats. it started with the "wall street journal." hardly a liberal paper. they started questioning what happened with the george washington bridge lane closures. we have followed this stepdy step. there's been no rush to judgment. >> you say no rush to judgment. respectfully, you've talked about the specter of impeachment before you've gathered all this information. >> what i said, david, is there's absolutely no document that connects the governor to this. his office is connected, not
him. i've said that talking about impeachment is premature. there's no connection that he knew or that he directed. what we do know is that someone senior in his staff sent an e-mail to close the lanes. we know that will senior people in his staff were involved in trying to do damage control and come up with a cover story for it. so we have lots of questions. and i have said that with all of his senior people in the midst of a re-election year, it's hard to believe that he knew nothing until january 8th. >> what's the end game then? a very broad subpoena for the office of the governor, presumably you want any communication that would indicate he had direct knowledge to shut down those lanes. is that what you're after? >> no, what we want to know, first of all, it's a legislative inquiry. we're not a prosecutorial agency. we want to make sure that this doesn't happen again. the fact that four people have lost their jobs over it doesn't stop this kind of abuse from happening again. so we have to change the laws. the only way we can do that is to find out how it could happen in the first place. the subpoenas help us get to the root cause of who told bridget kelly she could send this
e-mail? why would she send it? it seemed to be a preordained conversation. because reading that e-mail, you don't get any other conclusion that there was a communication before then. >> here's what i really want to know. >> sure. >> is chris christie a bully who abused power or are you seeking to criminalize the rough and tumble of new jersey politics? >> no, no. i mean, new jersey politics is rough and tumble, but abusing power should not be condoned. everybody mistrusts government. when things liking this happen it gives them another reason to say, there they go again. we have to make sure it can't happen again. that's the one way we restore trust in government. this is not preordained. we have no connection to governor christie. we're going to look to see who else in his office knew and follow the trail where it leads step by step. >> assemblyman, thank you very much for your time. >> david, thank you. >> let me turn now to the former mayor of new york city, republican presidential candidate, as well rudy giuliani who is with us from palm beach this morning. mr. mayor, welcome.
>> good morning, david. thank you for having me. >> you've just heard from the assemblyman. >> i did. >> is this an even-handed approach as an investigation, or do you think it's a political witch hunt? >> david, when you announce before you even investigate you don't believe the subject of the investigation or the person who's the ultimate focus of the investigation it would seem to me the assemblyman has an ethical obligation to step down. he's no longer an impartial arbiter of the facts. he's announced he doesn't believe governor christie. i don't even know how he could come to that conclusion. there are no facts on the table that contradict the governor. every fact seems to indicate governor christie is telling the truth. whether he is he isn't, that's what the investigation is for. the person leading the investigation has now announced the conclusion of the investigation, that he believes he's not telling the truth. he should not be handling the investigation. gives it no sense of credibility and it clearly is a partisan witch hunt.
my goodness, the head of the congressional re-election committee for the democrats was down here protesting governor christie. a national democrat protesting in front of a fund-raiser when governor christie is down here. clearly, this is a very, very well orchestrated democratic kind of organizational effort to try to hurt governor christie who after all was the only republican, was the only republican who was beating hillary clinton in any poll at any time. >> i certainly understand the potential motivation of the democrats. at the same time, isn't that the classic deflection? what about the merits? you heard the hoboken mayor. you have seen some of the evidence trail. these are senior aides who ordered this closure. how concerned are you about -- let me start with, this new charge of bullying. how much weight do you give that? >> well, i don't know. mayor zimmer just shortly before she made this revelation said that she didn't believe that any holdup in the funds had anything to do with any kind of retribution for not endorsing the governor.
i'm informed that she said that. she also said she liked working with governor christie. so i think you have to look at her current statement in light of her former statements before this became an orchestrated pile on. look, the allegations are serious about the closure of the bridge. no question about it. but on the other hand, the governor faced up to the allegations in a very serious way. >> you're a former prosecutor. >> he held an hour and a half press conference. >> i'm sorry. i didn't mean to interrupt you. >> he held an hour and a half press conference. he held the people accountable who were responsible for it, something the president has failed to do with benghazi, president has failed to do with the irs. he's given an example of a leader taking responsibility for something that was no question about it, david, wrong. this shouldn't have happened. beyond stupid to try to get back at a guy for not endorsing the governor by hurting the people of new jersey. totally crazy. >> mayor, you raise again the specter of the irs and other
republicans have done that. i think it's fair to point out that for those who is have raised that issue, what they said is the culture was created by president obama for this kind of abuse to have occurred. that link has never been proven or established. but if that's your standard, then isn't governor christie accountable for creating a culture where this kind of abuse could have occurred and been ordered by top lieutenants? >> that happens four or five times in every administration, every governor, every mayor, every president has his people do something wrong and then all of you rightly ask, did the culture create it, didn't it. if the culture did create it, you've got to change the culture. that's different than saying you're responsible for abusing power, you're a bully, you're terrible, you're awful. look. the president says he didn't know what happened with the irs. i believe that's true. the whole issue gets resolved if the president straightens it out and it doesn't happen again. i think that's the way you
evaluate one of those things. that's a very, very ambiguous and amorphous charge that the culture created it. my goodness. things go wrong in every administration, so then the person in charge has to take accountability for it, make it clear i didn't want you to do that. i can't tell you how often i had to do that. people would do things they thought i wanted it, i didn't, i'd have to say i don't want it and it didn't happen again. >> final question for you. as to whether christie's political prospects in 2016 should he decide to run, if they've been scrambled when you look at these questions and this investigation about the bridge and other issues when you look at hillary clinton and questions about the benghazi fallout and questions for her, at the end of the day, you've run for president, you watched this closely, do you think it's still christie versus clinton? >> could be, could be. i can see this working out to chris's favor. i don't mean the underlying facts. they were wrong. but the fact is, things go wrong, things will go wrong if he or hillary clinton become
president. the question is, how are they going to handle if? he's given a textbook case in how to handle it, stand up, answer the questions, hold people accountable. make sure it doesn't happen again. i think the test of time will only tell you who the candidates are going to be. i don't want to remind you who the candidates were back when i was running at this point. >> all right. mayor giuliani. >> it changes, it changes. >> it does change. thanks very much for your time this morning. i appreciate it. >> thank you. let me continue with this idea of the political prospects. the bridge scandal has scrambled christie's 2016 prospects at some point in this period of kind of the invisible primaries. "the new york times" quotes top republican donors saying that christie has to be careful who he surrounds himself with as advisers. an early test is coming over the course of this weekend with a fund-raising swing through florida. kelly o'donnell is in palm beach this morning and has been
the area. >> reporter: good morning, david. christie's halfway through a busy schedule of events here in florida and meeting with that important group within the republican party, the donors. i'm told some donors did not want him to come. other insiders say he was received very well by hundreds in attendance and he's here to help florida governor rick scott, his friend and his party. despite troubles at home, chris christie takes hold of his national place in politics this weekend. mixing with big donors at private fund-raisers for florida governor rick scott. but no plans for christie and scott to appear together publicly. christie has kept his fund-raising schedule including a thursday night event for a new jersey senate candidate. >> the florida events were scheduled a long time ago and to duck out of them now would only invite controversy and criticism. he's doing the right thing by going down and doing these. >> reporter: but it's tricky trying to balance business with ongoing damage control over the bridge scandal. >> if i were him, i would hold back on the donor politics for a little while just because he's going fuel the fire about his political ambitions.
and now's not the best time to have that go on. >> this florida trip is a test of christie's star status, becoming chair of the republican governors association just eight weeks ago. >> are you getting encouragement? >> oh, yeah. everybody's excited that you know, i'm going to take over the chairmanship and i'm getting great response from donors and from my fellow governors. >> reporter: the rga hopes to raise as much as $100 million this year with christie at the helm and has more than $45 million in the bank. >> my focus is going to be raising the funds that are necessary to be able to get the stories of these governors out. >> reporter: democrats say christie is now damaged. >> the pattern is continuing to develop. i think it's going to start to spiral out of control for chris christie because this is a clear case of where there's smoke, there's even more fire. >> reporter: for now, fellow republican governors are standing behind christie. >> i think the bottom line is he stepped up. i think any of us as governors, democrat or republican alike, if there's a challenge in your administration, you step up, acknowledge it, deal with it.
>> reporter: and surveys including our own nbc/maris poll suggests he may have weathered the storm short term. >> what he needs to do is what i think he did at the state of the state speech, get back to being governor and back to issues people care about. if i was him, i'd stay out of politics for a while while this kind of cools off. >> reporter: a somewhat different test today. an event to attract new donors new contributors to the party held at the home of billionaire home depot home cofounder ken langone. christie is scheduled to go to texas and illinois next month. david? >> kelly o'donnell on tough duty this morning in sunny florida. appreciate it. we're going to have more on the story coming up on "meet the press," the bridge scandal versus fallout over benghazi. roundtable will weigh in on how both republicans and democrats may try to use the scandals to their advantage as we get closer to 2016. plus, did edward snowden get any help? i'll ask two key leaders in congress, the chairs of the senate and house intelligence committee.
and he was secretary of defense and head of the cia. so what does robert gates think about the president's proposed spying reforms? you'll hear his very first response to the president's speech when he joins me later on "meet the press." all coming can up after this break. ." all coming can up after this break. ♪ [ male announcer ] if we could see energy... what would we see? ♪ the billions of gallons of fuel that get us to work. ♪ we'd see all the electricity flowing through the devices that connect us and teach us. ♪ we'd see that almost 100% of medical plastics are made from oil and natural gas. ♪ and an industry that supports almost 10 million american jobs. life takes energy.
and we're back. now to the debate over government spying. i spoke with the head of the senate intelligence committee, democrat from kat dianne feinstein as well as the chair of the house intelligence committee, both the intelligence chairs. republican from michigan mike rogers, it was their only interview together since obama's important speech on friday. senator feinstein, chairman rogers, welcome back. good to have you both. so the future of spying it seems to me is very much like the president's. do you view this as a big
victory, chairman rogers? >> i thought the most important victory was the president standing up and saying the program did not have abuse. this wasn't sinister. it was legal and proper. some of the suggestions how to move forward i have some concerns with, but i thought it was an important -- really an important role for the president to play. i wish he would have played it seven months ago but i was glad to hear
it yesterday. >> so edward snowden whatever you think of him leaks these documents, the information about these programs. and senator feinstein, there's a big hue and cry, but basically the president says these programs are here to stay. and critics of the speech as i've been reading them seem to say very little will change. barton gellman says, "obama placed restrictions on access to domestic can phone records collected by the national security agency, but the changes he announced will allow it to continue or expand the collection of personal data from billions of people around the world, americans and foreign citizens alike." that doesn't seem like a lot of privacy protection. >> well, i would disagree with mr. gellman.
i think that what the president has said is that he wanted to maintain
the capability of the program, that as chairman rogers said, it has not been abused or misused and it is carried out by very strictly vetted and professional people. now, what he said is, by march 28th, i'm asking the attorney general to come back to me with some suggestions and probabilities of how the data might be stored by other than the government. and i think that's a very difficult thing because the whole purpose of this program is to provide instantaneous information to be able to disrupt any plot that may be taking place. and you know, i think a lot of the privacy people perhaps don't understand that we still occupy the role of the great satan.
quote quote quote quote
new bombs are being devised. new terrorists are emerging. new groups. actually, a new level of viciousness. and i think we need to be prepared. i think we need to do it
in a way that respects people's privacy rights. >> well -- >> let me make one other point. when you look at what companies collect, the government does not seem to be a major offender at all. >> but isn't the difference, of course, chairman, that it's only the government that can deprive you of your liberty? you know, google or amazon, you still have to click to acquiesce and not even know they have a lot of that personal information. the government seems to want total awareness. that's where even in the name of security a lot of critics say sorry, that is an invasion of privacy and that is going overboard. edward snowden himself when he was interviewed in the "washington post" said the following about what he thinks
is lax oversight. the issue was basically what entitled snowden to take on the responsibility of being the oversight. the whole question who elected you inverts the model, he said. they elected me the overseers. he named the chairs of the senate and house intelligence committee, both of you, dianne feinstein he said elected me when she asked softball questions in committee hearings. mike rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. the fisa court elected me when this he decided to act on things they were never intended to do. the system failed comprehensively and each level of responsibility that should have addressed this abdicated their responsibility. so
i'll start with you, chairman rogers. will anything change? >> first of all, i couldn't disagree more. that's like having the janitor at a bank who figured out how to steal some money deciding matters of high finance. this was a thief who we believe had some help who stole information the vast majority had nothing to do with privacy. our army, navy, air force, marines have been incredibly harmed by the data that he has
taken with him and we believe now is in the hands of nation states. >> what help did he have? who helped him, do you think? >> well, there were certain questions we have to get answered where "a," first of all if it was a privacy concern he had, he didn't look for information on the privacy side for americans. he was stealing information that had to do with how we operate and deal to deep americans safe. some of the things he did were beyond his technical responsibilities raises more questions. how he
arranged travel before he left, how he was ready to go. he had a go bag, if you will, and how he accessed -- >> what high level do you think? >> let me just say this. he ended up in the loving arms of an fsb agent in moscow. i don't think that's a coincidence. >> you think the russians helped ed snowden? >> i believe there's questions
to be answer there had. i don't think it was a gee whiz luck event that he ended up in moscow under the handling of the fsb. >> that's a significant development if true. >> i said we have questions we have to answer. as somebody who used to do investigations, some of the things we're finding we would call clues that would certainly indicate to me that he had some help
and he stole things that had nothing to do with privacy. and if i just real quickly, real quickly, the oversight that is conducted, that's what's the interesting thing about this. with all the disclosures we find out holy mackerel, the court's involved. both the senate and the house committees are involved. there was plenty of oversight of the programs, and it was very restrictive. only 288 times did that they even used the business records in 2012. >> so senator feinstein, is there any chance that some of your colleagues who disagree with you will be successful in shutting down the program, the bulk collection of this
metadata? >> i don't believe so. the president has very clearly said that he wants to keep the capability. he wants to look for other than the government holding the material. so i think we would agree with him. i know a dominant majority, everybody virtually except two or three on the senate intelligence committee would agree with that. he wants to make some changes in the fisa court that you have to have the approval of the court before you query. that the amicus concept involving a panel would come into being. but the important thing to me
is the president very clearly said, we need this capability to keep people safe. now let me say one thing about mr. snowden. i heard him on television say that he went there with the intent to scrape our systems. that he obtained a scrape tool. and he began to scrape over i believe a two-month period as much as he could get ahold of. this isn't somebody who comes
upon something and says, this isn't the right thing for the government to do. i want to go out and talk to people about it. he came there with the
intent to take as much material down as he possibly could. >> do you agree with chairman rogers that he may have had help from the russians? >> he may well have. we don't know at this stage. but i think to glorify this act is really to set sort of a new -- a new level of dishonor. and this goes to where these data, this metadata goes because the nsa are professionals. they are limited in number to 22 who have access to the data. two of them are supervisors. they are vetted. they are carefully supervised. the data goes anywhere else. how do you provide that level of supervision? >> so is it critical then to get
to the bottom and will you investigate who might have been involved and whether there was any link to the russians? >> absolutely. >> absolutely. >> that investigation is ongoing. >> absolutely. >> sure. but you
have to remember, al qaeda has changed the way they communicate based on this. that puts our soldiers at risk in the field. that's a real dangerous consequence. nation states have started to make changes that concern us greatly. we're going to have to rebuild whole aspects of operations from our army, navy, air force, marines that will cost billions and billions of dollars because of the information he stole and gave which we believe is now in the hands of nation states who are doing something with it. there's no honor in that. >> all right. we'll leave it there. senator feinstein, thank you very much for being here it. chairman rogers, thank you, as well. >> thank you. i wanted to get a different perspective from a privacy advocate also part of that digital privacy movement and an outspoken critic of government spying. alexis ohanian is the co-founder of reddit.
an online community. the users post anything from articles to images to random questions and thoughts. stories then become popular with an up or down vote from users. he's also the author of the book "without their permission: how the 21st century will be made, not managed." he joins us now. welcome to "meet the press." good to have you. >> thank you for having me. >> i think of this as a bigger debate about the future of privacy in america, and what i just heard dianne feinstein say as the chair of the senate intelligence committee is we're going to have to give up some privacy because we still operate as in the space of the great satan. she said we face a new level of viciousness. so to you and others who are opposed to these programs, she's saying that's got to be more important. >> yeah, and to me that is a false choice. in fact, i remember hearing president obama campaigning on the false choice the bush administration was positioning when they were trying to do this very same thing. i think it's really important
for us to realize that it's possible for us to have security while also not overstepping our right to privacy. >> can we do it without -- i mean, as i've listened to you and others who oppose these programs, the thing is the bulk collection. it's all the metadata. if the government committed to having a huge database with our information, now, look, there has not been evidence of abuse even if you think that mere act is abusive, the collecting all of that data. >> indeed. but i would not like to have that hanging over my head. i think it is absolutely possible for the nsa to do their job without the bulk collection of america's phone records. and i think if these leaders believe that to be true, then they would encourage or at least be looking forward to a proper congressional investigation. the sort of thing that will actually get us some answers that has subpoena powers, that has the ability to sift through and actually give the american people the transparency we deserve. >> but aren't we living, even ed snowden talked about in that a
child growing up today is not going to really understand what the concept of privacy is. but don't you also turn toward some of the leading tech companies in the world that were started here in america, amazon and google, and look at what they're doing to compromise our privacy, not only compiling data but sharing that data, selling that data? is that just as much of a going? >> david, i think you pointed it out earlier. there are certainly platforms that we go into knowing that we are sort of giving up our privacy because we're sharing some tweet with the world. right? but there are plenty of others where we go in with an expectation of privacy. that's a contract we have with our service providers. in fact, i think one of the strongest points that hasn't been made yet is the fact i believe forester estimated about $180 billion is going to be lost in revenue because countries and citizens around the world no longer want to do business wtih american companies because they no longer trust that their private data is safe. that's -- i'm an entrepreneur. i'm an investor.
there's real business costs on top of this on top of the very important civil liberties costs. >> no doubt a younger generation you have americans too is going to be looking at this politically, and this is going to be a big issue in our politics, don't you think? >> absolutely. and mark my words, i think as mr. elsburg recently pointed out in a reddit ama, i believe history will look back on edward snowden as a whistleblower. >> and that debate's going to rage on, as well. alexis ohanian, happy to have your perspective. >> thank you for having me, david. >> we're going to come back with our roundtable. back to more politics. thinking about 2016. i know it's early but you do have this benghazi report that came out this week, critical of the administration, republicans critical of hillary clinton. the bridge scandal, as well. will all this put a dent in the presidential ambitions of hillary clinton and chris christie or will it be forgotten by the time we start voting in 2016? plus, former defense secretary robert gates will be here in studio with me with his first reaction to the president's efforts to rein in government spying.
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new jersey of one thing. i was born here. i was raised here. i'm raising my family here. and this is where i intend to spend the rest of my life. >> chris christie this week battling against these charges in the bridge scandal and the fallout from it. back with our roundtable andrea mitchell, nia-malika henderson, harold ford, newt gingrich. what do we think about this? newt, you've been in the pressure cooker before. how does this wear on him? >> that last quote if he meant it is a little strange. he's going to serve out his second term. that's what i just heard him say. >> until he doesn't. >> my intention is to be here unless my intention changes and it's not going to change until it changes so trust me. one of the dangers, as you know, is not the initial problem. it's the pressure cooker. it's the things you didn't expect. it's how you handle the problem. you know, it's ken langone lecturing you in public. so we'll see.
christie's got to relax and understand this is a marathon. this could go on for three to six to nine months. he's not going to get rid of it easily. >> he's going to have this investigation around for a long while. that's what i was asking the assemblyman about. >> what he has to focus on is the investigation. he probably should not have gone to florida and fulfilled that commitment because in florida, if he's first of all behind a gated community with the wealthy, with ken langone who is also telling "the new york times" at the same time he didn't hire the right people so there's criticism. >> he's cautioning him about who he's surrounding himself. >> this is langone who wanted him to run in 2012. i think the democrats are probably overdoing it by looking like they're piling on but he's going deal with the investigation and make sure if everything he said is correct, he's home free. but he's got to make sure and there are a lot of e-mails out there. >> harold, this it is a culture and environment. that stuff does matter in terms of rounding out what you think
of him as a leader. >> no doubt about it. as i listen to him, one of the things that strikes me is that he constantly talks about himself and he talks about i and it's never -- i actually was caught up in the traffic in one of the days coming back from somewhere in new jersey that day. and i can't imagine if i faced an emergency situation, a health care situation, how i would have felt. and the fact that he's yet -- i've not heard him apologize to all the people inconvenienced by the incompetence by my staff. it's always i've been asked to do this by the voters and am going to fulfill this obligation. voters didn't ask him for anything. he ran for office. i don't remember any voters begging him to run. don't get me wrong. he ran and was re-elected. he ought to focus on his job and try to answer all the questions. if there's nothing there, he'll be able to prove it. >> i brought up benghazi. we talk about benghazi. the senate committee's report this week about benghazi, that the attack could have been
prevented very singular in its criticism of the state department not providing adequate security, and then republicans saying, look, this all goes back to hillary clinton. there was marco rubio who may be a candidate in 2016 amplifying that point. >> she has ultimately responsibility, secretary clinton did at the time, for the security of our personnel. no one has been held accountable to date. certainly none of the decisionmakers have. as she herself says the buck stops at the starts. >> nia you start. >> you have this report that comes out that mentions her once. in some ways it didn't sort of corroborate the main charge that republicans have been making which is that there was a cover-up. i think the discussion of benghazi and we heard it in 2012, as well, is so far it's been sort of a boutique issue among republicans. it hasn't yet been i think embraced in the same way by the general public. i think it does get to what hillary clinton actually did as secretary of state. right? does she have a sort of counter
narrative about -- what's her biggest accomplishment as secretary of state? we don't really know that. at this point, benghazi is standing in for her term as secretary of state. >> this report corroborated what the state department's own independent review board did report last year. i think there are big questions about the state department not increasing security, about what we learned that is new in this report, that the pentagon, general ham offered ambassador stevens twice more security and he did not want it. he wanted to rely on the local militias. that's a tragic error. he was the point person in benghazi during the war. he had way too much confidence in the locals and did not heed the warnings of their own intelligence people. so the breakdown in communications between state and cia is a profound mistake. it does i think critics will say it goes to hillary clinton's leadership of the state department. i don't see it as a political issue other than for the republicans.
>> the republicans are going to want a definitive accounting. and they're going to really want to press her on it. >> i think any republican strategy which tries to nibble at hillary clinton is hopeless. she has been in public life for 40 years. she was a mcgovern field person in 1972. i mean, the idea that suddenly we're going to learn something new about hillary clinton. >> nixon impeachment committee staff. >> in fact, she's a lot like nixon in her capacity to survive forever. so she's a fact. if she gets beaten, she's going to get beaten because obamacare keeps decaying, because we're losing the war in afghanistan and iraq. she's going to get beaten because there are big decisions and she's caught between loyalty to a president whose base is still loyal and the country. now, if that happens, she'll lose. but we're never going to beat her on nitpicking smaller issues. >> the real question about benghazi is what has been done
since to make sure we don't face another predicament like this. do the embassies around the world have the assets and resources they need to protect them? >> obviously they don't. >> to me that question has not been answered fully. >> a lot of this is a question of how much staying power these have. we're going to take another break here. coming up, the future of american warfare. defense secretary robert gates is here with us. it's his first interview since obama's important speech on spying. he was the former head of the cia. get his response when is we come back right after this. ♪ [ cellphone rings ] hello? [ male announcer ] over 12,000 financial advisors. good, good. good. over $700 billion dollars in assets under care. let me just put this away. [ male announcer ] how did edward jones get so big? could you teach our kids that trick? [ male announcer ] by not acting that way. ok, last quarter... [ male announcer ] it's how edward jones makes sense of investing. ♪
here now some of this week's images to remember. ♪ our images to remember. up next here, he was secretary of defense and head of the cia. so what does robert gates think the president's intelligence reforms will mean for keeping america safe? the man who insisted on wearing a neck brace for his book tour, his first interview since the president's speech, coming up next.
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i'm back now and i'm here with former defense secretary robert gates. he was head of the cia. he's been making news all week with his new memoir "duty." this is his first interview since obama gave the speech on spying and the reforms that he's proposing. you've had a good sense of humor about this brace but you had a serious fall. are you doing okay? >> i'm doing fine, thanks. inconvenient. >> you said in the book i remember at one point whether it had to do with torture or what's called enhanced interrogation techniques, you thought there should have been a top to bottom review of all of the security measures put in place since 9/11. it took a while to get around to all of the surveillance programs. do you think the president has the balance right in what he's talking about now, which is you've got to have a these programs but we'll try to make your privacy a little bit more of a priority? >> i actually do.
i think that acknowledging the importance of these programs and that they are valuable, that they help protect america, i think is very important. figuring out, trying to figure out some ways to provide some reassurance to americans that these programs are not a danger to their privacy, to their civil liberties i think is also important. i'm not sure that, you know -- we'll see whether the congress and executive branch can do something about who holds the metadata. i think that's a more complicated problem that may seem to be the case on the surface. but i will tell you, i think that along with the balance in the president's speech, i think that the intelligence committees particularly under dianne feinstein and mike rogers, very different political philosophies have done a terrific job in overseeing this. >> but do you have -- don't you acknowledge that without these leaks which, you know, were very
dangerous as the president said, we wouldn't really be having this kind of transparent debate. and that congress wouldn't now be having a real transparent debate whether this is a good or a bad thing and whether privacy is too compromised by it? >> i think that the important thing is, after all of the leaks and after all the publicity, you have the chairs of the intelligence committees on the hill say, no wrongdoing has been found. president saying this. no wrongdoing. no abuses. this is all about something that might happen in the future. >> uh-huh. >> and what kind of restrictions do you put in place. so i think that, you know, as i said about reviewing some of the post-9/11 issues, i think there's always value in going back and looking at these programs, but you don't need a series of leaks that are terribly damaging to the united states to do that. >> a lot of your memoir and some of the criticism inside the administration you've talked about a lot. one of the things that really struck me was how emotional being secretary of defense was
for you and how responsible you felt for our soldiers sending them into harm's way. and you write about that sentimentality even perhaps raps influencing your judgment in a way that you would prefer it had not. here's something you write in the book during world war ii general george marshall once told his wife, i cannot afford the luxury of sentiment. mine must be cold logic. sentiment is for others. icy detachment was never an option because of the nature of the two wars i oversaw, i could afford the luxury of sentiment and at times it overwhelmed me. you talked about weeping every night writing condolence letters. >> yes, i began i think in early 2008 to tell the troops in iraq and afghanistan and also the young people at the service academies that i had come to feel responsible, personally responsible for them as though they were my own sons and daughters. and by the end of four years
plus, i began to think that my priority, my opposition to our intervention in libya, my opposition to military engagement elsewhere i kept saying, can i just finish the two wars i'm already in before we go looking for another one? and i began to feel that, you know, my concern, my priority was protecting the troops and that that might be affecting my objectivity in advising the president where they might need to be used. >> is that much emotion, that much sentiment the wrong thing for a defense secretary or does it help you keep your priorities straight? >> well, i don't know. all i can say is that i've had the parents and the spouses over the years of a number of military of those who have been wounded or even deployed and serve tell me how much it meant to them to know that somebody in
washington cared that much about their own son and daughter. >> a couple of quick ones. i've been saying all morning i wanted to ask you about the future of war. here is what you said back in 2011 at west point. in my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big american land army into asia or into the middle east or africa should have his head examined as general mcarthur so delicately put it. does that mean to say that you think iraq and afghanistan will never truly be won, will never be seen as a victory? >> i think that one of the other things that i write in the book is that if you look back to the korean war, there are very few instances where we have been militarily engaged in a major conflict where we have come out with what we saw as a victory as clear-cut as in world war ii or in the first gulf war in 1991. whether it was korea or vietnam or iraq or afghanistan, there is not a conclusion to these conflicts that end in a victory parade.
and the other aspect of this that i think is important as we look at the future of war is that as i put in the book and as i said often as the secretary of defense, in the last 40 years our record in predicting where we would use military force next even six months out is perfect. we've never once gotten it right. from grenada under president reagan to haiti, panama, the balkans, against iraq twice, afghanistan, libya twice, you name it. we didn't know six months ahead we were going to be in those places in those kinds of conflicts. >> this is "meet the press." i think a lot about politics. and you write about hillary clinton quite favorably, her pragmatism, her judgment. you were often in agreement with her on national security matters. you have said in other interviews you think she would be a good president. you are a republican. could you imagine voting for her? >> well, i -- i think where i am
now is that i think, it's clear in the book that i have a lot of admiration for hillary. i don't think that having a republican -- that the democrats welcome having a republican handicap their 2016 race. >> but you're not going to get off that easy. you can still vote for her and not handicap her. you don't want to answer that. >> i'm still going to be evasive. >> but you do think she would be a good president? >> i think -- i worked with her in the national security arena for two and a half years. i have a lot of respect for what she did and the way she conducted herself as secretary. >> i think that's about as good as i'm going to get. mr. secretary, thanks so much. good to have you here. that is all for today. we're going to be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." unday, it's "meet the unday, it's "meet the press." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
he's no longer an impartial arbiter of the facts. he's announced he doesn't believe governor christie. >> this story interestingly enough don't start with republicans. it started with "the wall street journal." >> he shouldn't be on this. it's a partisan witch hunt. >> new details on the investigation of governor christie's office. good sunday afternoon. right now, there are calls for a new investigation into the latest claims of political payback you saw first on msnbc. meanwhile, the governor is busy fund raising in florida. we'll get the latest from one of the investigators. he came